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31 July 2017: The Reportable Conduct Scheme​ 

To help schools and other organisations understand new obligations under the Reportable Conduct Scheme, the VRQA with the Commissioner for Children and Young People has produced an introductory video.

The Reportable Conduct Scheme came into effect for a number of organisations, including schools, on 1 July 2017.

As outlined by the Commissioner, heads of schools are now required to report allegations regarding employee behaviour or actions towards a child made by volunteers and employees, to the Commission for Children and Young People.

An allegation regarded as 'reportable conduct', includes:

  • sexual offences or misconduct committed against, with or in the presence of a child
  • physical violence against, with or in the presence of a child
  • any behaviour that causes significant emotional or psychological harm to a child
  • significant neglect of a child.

The Commission for Children and Young People is rolling out the Reportable Conduct Scheme across Victoria in three phases. It is worth noting that if your organisation falls into more than one phase, your organisation as a whole is within the Scheme from the earliest relevant phase. For example, after school care service operators are not required to comply until phase three, which is scheduled for January 2019. However, if the operators are employed by the school, then they are under the school's responsibility and fall into phase one from 1 July 2017.

Detailed information, including fact sheets, is available on the CCYP website.​ ​

31 July 2017: New regulations, new requirements

The Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 have commenced, replacing the 2007 Regulations.

What's changed for schools?

  • Within school governance, the probity minimum standard has been strengthened to a 'fit and proper person' requirement replacing the 'good character' requirement.
  • A new definition of a 'responsible person' has been developed.
  • The 'not-for profit' requirements have been strengthened.
  • A registered school must now publish a clear statement of its philosophy and be able to demonstrate how the school's philosophy is enacted.
  • The school's proprietor is now responsible for ensuring that the governance of a school is structured to enable:
    1. the effective development of the school's strategic direction
    2. the effective management of the school's finances
    3. the school to fulfil its legal obligations.

What's changed for complaints investigation?

There were also some changes to how the VRQA investigates complaints, with arrangements revised to include:

  • an exemption to the complaints procedure if VRQA is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to not initially raise the complaint with the relevant school, person or body (regulation 100)
  • a referral of complaints from the Commission for Children and Young People.

What's changed for home schooling?

The Regulations also include changes to the regulation of home schooling. From 1 January 2018:

  • all new home schooling applications will require a one-off learning plan
  • the VRQA will annually review around 10 per cent of families.

In the lead up to 1 January 2018, the VRQA will be working with home schooling families to help them prepare for the changes.

The Regulations are made under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006. They prescribe a number of matters under the Act relating to registration of schools, including non-government schools, education and training organisations, children for home schooling, as well as the role of the VRQA in investigating complaints.

For more information on the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017, see the DET website.

Updated VRQA guidelines

To support the new Regulations and to help providers understand their regulatory requirements, the VRQA has updated its publications, guidelines and forms.

The following documents have been updated and are available on the VRQA website:

What if my school is up for review?
Existing schools will be reviewed against the old regulations until 1 July 2018. To help prepare for a review, see our website to understand which guidelines you should follow.

31 July 2017: Child safe standards

Apprenticeships and traineeships consultation

Where we are now

Victorian schools and school communities have worked hard to implement the child safe standards.

In our latest animation, Where We Are Now, we reflect on the work undertaken across the school sector and outlines activities that will help schools stay on track to embedding a culture of child safety.

The video is particularly helpful to schools participating in the VRQA's Implementation Feedback Project, a school review or that wish to check their compliance with the child safe standards.

Thank you to the Catholic Education Commission Victoria, Independent Schools Victoria and the Department of Education and Training for their support in producing this video.

Changes to duty of care and working with children requirements

On 1 July 2017, the Wrongs Amendment (Organisational Child Abuse) Act 2017 commenced. This arises from the Betrayal of Trust Report and creates a new duty of care that:

  • an organisation that exercises care, supervision or authority over children owes a duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent the abuse of a child by an individual associated with the organisation while the child is under the care, supervision or authority of the organisation.

A fact sheet detailing the changes is available on the Department of Justice and Regulation website.

As of 1 August 2017, new provisions to the Working with Children Act 2005 will take effect. The changes arise from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Recommendations, and include:

  • the expansion of the definition 'direct contact' to include oral, written or electronic communication as well as face-to-face and physical contact
  • the removal of references to 'supervision', meaning that if a person's contact with children as part of their child-related work is supervised by another person, they will still need to apply for a Working with Children Check. 

More information is available on the Working with Children Check website.

31 July 2017: Help us improve our website

We are redeveloping the VRQA website and would like to understand your experience. Please take a minute to complete our short survey, which will inform the redevelopment of the site.
We respect your privacy and will not gather or retain personal details in the survey. For more information on privacy please refer to the VRQA Privacy Statement.

Thanks for your help!

31 July 2017: Ten years of the VRQA

Ten years of the VRQA

The VRQA is 10 years old. This anniversary is an opportunity to look back and recognise the achievements and relationships the VRQA has built over the last ten years.

The Education Training and Reform Act 2006 established the VRQA to address issues meeting minimum standards in schools. At the time, the VRQA adopted an approach that has remained at the core of our legislative functions; to consult, audit, investigate, authorise and report.

The VRQA has since grown into an organisation working in an increasingly complex environment, overseeing a range of education and training regulatory functions; from schools to apprenticeships, traineeships, home schooled children, vocational education and training providers.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work of our Board, our stakeholders, peers and colleagues whose expertise and professionalism ensures Victoria’s high quality education and training sector.

Happy anniversary to us!

26 July 2017: Reintroduction of trade papers consultation

The Minister for Training and Skills has asked the VRQA to reintroduce trade papers for people that complete an apprenticeship. The previous system was abolished in 2013.

The VRQA is seeking consultation on the reintroduction of trade papers. Responses to the Discussion Paper (doc - 18.47mb) should be forwarded to vrqa.apprenticeships@edumail.vic.gov.au by 30 July 2017.

Consultation has already occurred with Victorian Industry Advisory Groups (IAGs) on implementation options.

IAGs have indicated a strong preference that a Trade Certificate with a unique identifier be issued to all completing apprentices (not trainees) free of charge.  There was general support for the occupational titles on the Trade Certificate to match ABS defined occupational titles. Some concerns were however raised that ABS occupations may not always match, or be as specific, as the occupational titles used in some industries.

This document seeks the views of other interested stakeholders on reintroduction options and related matters.

26 June 2017: Disruption to VRQA phone line

The VRQA phone line is currently unavailable  If access continues to be an issue, please contact us.

May 2017: Welcomes and farewells for the VRQA Board

The VRQA is delighted to welcome Dr Julie Caldecott to the VRQA Board. Dr Caldecott brings a strong corporate background with over twenty years’ experience consulting in the public and private sectors. Originally a medical practitioner, Dr Caldecott also has an MBA from the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne. Her previous board memberships include non-executive directorships at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne; the Transport Accident Commission, Victoria; and the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research.

The VRQA also recently farewelled two board members, Paul Kirk and Patricia Neden.

The VRQA Board benefitted from Ms Neden’s membership since her Governor in Council (GIC) appointment in October 2009. Ms Neden served four GIC terms as well as a number of short-term acting appointments. As Chair of the Apprenticeships and Traineeships subcommittee since its commencement, Ms Neden has overseen the DELTA/Epsilon project, the referral of group training regulation, and the engagement of Busy At Work as the VRQA’s contracted regulatory field services provider.

Mr Kirk made valuable contributions to both the VRQA Audit and Risk Management committee and the Compliance and Quality subcommittee during his time on the Board. He has provided valuable advice and pressed for clearer policies around financial management powers for schools. Mr Kirk also successfully campaigned to improve clarity on financial matters particularly in the development of the VRQA investment policy.

We would like to thank them both for their contributions to the Board’s work.

May 2017: School regulators' national meeting

The VRQA last month hosted a national meeting of school regulators. In a first of its kind, the meeting was a collaborative gathering of representatives from New South Wales, the ACT, South Australia and Queensland.

‘The morning provided a rare opportunity to sit down with our national counterparts to understand and draw comparisons in our work’, said John Mildren, VRQA Manager of Schools and Senior Secondary.

The meeting was just one of the strategic initiatives highlighted in the VRQA Strategic Plan 2016–18.

Thank you to all those who attended.

May 2017: Strengthening consultation with the Victorian Skills Commissioner

The VRQA has formalised its existing arrangement with the Victorian Skills Commissioner by signing a memorandum of understanding on 17 March 2017.

The MoU titled Cooperative arrangements on industry advice and apprenticeship regulation (pdf - 2.27mb), is a collaborative approach to regulation, formalising information sharing between the VSC and the VRQA. It cements both agencies' commitment to industry engagement and a more job ready focus for skills development of apprentices and trainees.

The VSC provides a framework for the Victorian Government, industry and community training, enabling a structured approach for the VRQA to fulfil its regulatory responsibilities.

'This MoU demonstrates the VRQA's co-regulatory approach and highlights our proactive engagement with industry while remaining focused on regulatory responsibilities', said Lynn Glover, VRQA Chief Executive Officer.

May 2017: Education and Training Reform Regulations sunset in June

The Education and Training Reform Regulations will sunset on 26 June 2017.

The Department of Education and Training (DET) has drafted the proposed remade regulations, which are available on the DET website.

The VRQA will be reviewing its affected publications, guidelines and forms to reflect the updated regulations. We will continue to provide updates on the regulatory changes to all stakeholders in a timely and appropriate manner, as more information is made available.

May 2017: Child safe standards feedback project

The VRQA will shortly be inviting a number of schools to provide feedback on the implementation of the child safe standards through a voluntary feedback project.

Victorian schools worked hard to implement the child safe standards in 2016. As all schools move to embed a culture of child safety, the VRQA would like to hear about schools' experiences and better understand how implementation is working from a school perspective.

The implementation feedback project will be answering three questions:

  • Where did schools begin?
  • Where are schools now?
  • Where to next?

The VRQA will invite over 200 schools to participate in the project. Schools will be chosen as a sample from the State Register, with measures taken to ensure representation across:

  • the government, Catholic and independent sectors
  • metropolitan Melbourne and rural and regional areas
  • types of schools (primary, secondary and specialist).

We all know that schools are safe places. The implementation feedback project aims to identify areas of child safety best practice and share them across the system to help all schools in their commitment to child safety.

The VRQA has worked in consultation with the Department of Education and Training, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, teachers' unions and principals' associations in developing this project. If you have any questions, please contact Gemma Bowen, bowen.gemma.g@edumail.vic.gov.au.

May 2017: SBAT-focussed Apprenticeships and Traineeships Stakeholder Forum

Key industry stakeholders recently joined the VRQA at the Apprenticeships and Traineeships Stakeholder Forum.

Hosted at the Melbourne Polytechnic in Preston, apprenticeship and traineeship stakeholders discussed current matters associated with regulating school-based apprenticeships and traineeships (SBATs).

Participants worked their way through a complex agenda, discussing issues on apprenticeship training programs, including access to training, facilities and employment opportunities.

'It was great to hear such a lively and diverse discussion. I appreciate our stakeholders taking this opportunity to help form future regulatory frameworks.' said Denver Blake, Acting Executive Manager, Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

The VRQA would like to thank everyone who attended and contributed to this successful event. 

May 2017: Stakeholders discuss industry issues

A large number of the VRQA’s diverse industry and sector stakeholders joined the VRQA Board this month to discuss important issues facing the education and training sector.

Hosted at the RACV City Club, the VRQA Board held its annual Board and Stakeholder Breakfast where participants were invited to discuss factors around embedding a compliance culture as well as the impact of emerging issues in the sector.

The morning provided a ‘valuable opportunity to connect with our stakeholders and discuss issues of importance to the education and training sector’, said VRQA Chair, Pam White.

As an annual event, the stakeholder breakfast is a key tool for shaping VRQA strategic priorities and will help shape discussions at the VRQA Board’s annual planning day next month.

May 2017: Reportable Conduct Scheme for Victorian schools

As of 1 July 2017 all Victorian school principals will be required to bring allegations of reportable conduct by employees to the Commission for Children and Young People.

An allegation of reportable conduct is where a person has a reasonable belief that there has been:

  • a sexual offence (even prior to criminal proceedings commencing), sexual misconduct or physical violence committed against, with or in the presence of a child
  • behaviour causing significant emotional or psychological harm
  • significant neglect of a child.

What is changing?

  • School principals will have a responsibility to report any allegations of misconduct that may include reportable conduct to the CCYP within three days of becoming aware of the allegation.
  • School principals will need to notify the CCYP of all allegations of conduct that may involve reportable conduct by employees, contractors, volunteers, allied health staff and school council employees.

What is not changing?

  • Principals' responsibilities to manage employee misconduct will not change.
  • The Reportable Conduct Scheme does not change a principal's mandatory reporting and other reporting obligations. Principals must contact Victoria Police if they suspect a criminal offence has occurred involving a child.

 

Government schools

  • Government school principals do not need to make a report directly to the CCYP. When an allegation is reported, the Employee Conduct Branch will provide advice and support to principals on how to manage the matter and will report the allegation to the CCYP (if appropriate).
  • The process for government schools was communicated in the DET School Update, 2 May 2017.

Following the Betrayal of Trust Report, the Victorian Government passed legislation in February 2017 to introduce a Reportable Conduct Scheme in Victoria. The Reportable Conduct Scheme complements the child safe standards and other existing child safety measures.

For more information visit the Commission for Children and Young People.

May 2017: Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution

The Department of Education and Training launched an Independent Office for School Dispute Resolution to resolve disputes within government schools.

The office acts as the final stage in the dispute resolution process for government schools. It takes a flexible approach for both schools and families, aiming to achieve shared agreement to resolve disputes.

The office looks at issues that are unable to be solved through the existing schools or departmental processes.

For more information visit www.schoolresolution.vic.gov.au

May 2017:Joining forces to strengthen apprenticeship growth

VRQA CEO Lynn Glover joined the Victorian Skills Commissioner, the Minister for Training and Skills and Victorian apprentices on 3 May in the Docklands to launch a new taskforce to drive apprenticeships and traineeships.

Ms Glover has joined the taskforce, which will look at barriers stopping people from taking up an apprenticeship or traineeship.

'It is imperative we understand the issues keeping Victorians away from apprenticeships', Ms Glover said. 'We need insight into whether issues are exclusive to particular industries, or if they are part of broader systemic issues.'

The Apprenticeship and Traineeship Taskforce, which will report its findings to government in October, includes members of:

  • Apprenticeship Employment Network
  • Australian Council for Private Education and Training
  • Australian Industry Group
  • Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Victorian TAFE Association
  • Victorian Trades Hall Council.

20 April 2017: Disruption to VRQA phone line

The VRQA phone line is currently unavailable  If access continues to be an issue, please contact us.

5 April 2017: Disruption to DELTA, the apprenticeship and traineeship register

DELTA will be unavailable 6:00-8:00pm Thursday 20 April 2017 for scheduled maintenance.

Intermittent service disruption is expected. If access continues to be restricted on Friday 21 April 2017, please email vrqa.apprenticeships@edumail.vic.gov.au

We apologise for this inconvenience.

8 March 2017: Presenting the VRQA Strategic Plan and Stakeholder Engagement Strategy

The VRQA Board last year approved a new strategic plan, setting ambitious program of reform
for 2016-18.

The Board has already commenced working on the strategic directions and initiatives outlined in the plan, which include:

  • implement government directions
  • strengthen governance
  • modernise regulatory functions
  • achieve financial sustainability.          

To achieve the objectives outlined in the strategic plan, the VRQA has developed the VRQA Stakeholder Engagement Strategy 2017-18. The strategy recognises that engagement with our stakeholders improves our regulation and will underpin the success of many of the projects under the reform agenda.

Full versions of the (pdf - 206.46kb)  and the (pdf - 922.49kb) are available on the VRQA website.

8 March 2017: 2016 Client and Stakeholder Research findings now available

Findings from the 2016 client and stakeholder research are now available on the VRQA website.

The findings show an overall increase in provider satisfaction with the VRQA and providers rating the VRQA as effective or highly effective in its function.

Opportunities for improvement identified in the research include strengthened consultation and engagement with all stakeholders, and refreshing how the VRQA's purpose, functions and the benefits of regulation are communicated.

The research was conducted by EY Sweeney on behalf of the VRQA in late 2016.

We wish to thank all providers, apprentices, trainees, employers and stakeholders who participated in the research. The research, conducted annually, shapes our client services and has this year informed our stakeholder engagement strategy.

The 2016 Client and Stakeholder Research report (pdf - 2.69mb) and summary (pdf - 538.54kb) are available on the VRQA website.

Please direct any queries regarding the research to vrqa@edumail.vic.gov.au.

8 March 2017: Child safe standards: monitoring compliance

Last year, every school completed the child safe standards online compliance self-assessment. Some schools have not yet emailed a copy of their signed declaration to the VRQA.

All schools should now have addressed any areas of noncompliance identified in their action plan and be compliant with all requirements of Ministerial Order No. 870.

Unless your school has an outstanding declaration, the VRQA requires no further reporting or follow-up action from the self-assessment process.

Compliance monitoring

This year, one in three schools will be involved in some form of compliance monitoring with the child safe standards. Compliance with the child safe standards is being monitored through one of the following activities:

  • the school review cycle
  • the VRQA compliance monitoring project
  • the initial school registration process. 

Reviews

From this year, schools scheduled for review will be assessed against the child safe standards. Schools preparing for a review may wish to revisit their action plan, the VRQA's child safe standards resource library and the DET Protect portal.

Compliance monitoring project

In the coming weeks, the VRQA will contact a number of schools selected to participate in the VRQA child safe standards compliance monitoring project. A sample of 10 per cent of Victorian schools were chosen to participate in the project, with measures taken to ensure representation across:

  • the government, Catholic and independent sectors
  • Melbourne metropolitan and regional and rural areas
  • types of schools (primary, secondary etc.).

Conducted over Terms 2 and 3, the project comprises an environmental scan of the school website and a 20-minute telephone questionnaire with the school principal or nominated child safe standards contact.

Schools selected to be part of the sample will be contacted by email in the coming weeks.

8 March 2017: The Education and Training Reform Regulations review

The Department of Education and Training (DET) is reviewing the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2017 before the current 2007 Regulations sunset on the 26 June 2017.

The public consultation period is now closed. Thank you to those who provided submissions. Unless confidentiality was requested, the submissions will soon be published on the DET website.

See the DET website for more information.  

8 March 2017: An eSafety touchpoint for providers

The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner was established in 2015 and is a valuable touchpoint for Victorian education providers.

Committed to helping young people have safe and positive experiences online, the office has a number of online resources for schools and education providers and may be of particular use for those enhancing their eSafety and cyberbullying policies and procedures.

The office also has expertise in handling complaints about cyberbullying and can request that a social media service remove cyberbullying material within 48 hours.

For more information visit the Commissioner's eSafety website. 

3 February 2017: Annual Declaration of Compliance

RTOs are to submit the Annual Declaration of Compliance to the VRQA by 1 April 2017.

Submitting the annual declaration is required under Guideline 5 of the 2016 VRQA Guidelines for VET Providers (docx - 204.24kb), and confirms an RTO has systematically monitored compliance and that any issues identified have been corrected.

The 2017 annual declaration provides the opportunity for noting compliance or noncompliance.  If noncompliance is identified, please provide the reasons and any rectification measures being implemented in the relevant section.

The annual declaration must be signed by the principal executive officer/chief executive officer registered with the VRQA as listed on Training.gov.au (TGA).

Please send the Annual Declaration of Compliance to the VRQA by email at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au or mail addressed as follows:

Annual Declaration of Compliance
VRQA
GPO Box 2317
Melbourne Vic 3001

Not submitting the declaration or not contacting the VRQA will be deemed as non-compliance with the ongoing registration requirements of the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF).  The VRQA will follow up individually with non-compliant RTOs.

3 February 2017: TAE Training and Education Training Package (TAE) delivery requirements that take effect from 1 January 2017

RTOs are reminded that from 1 January 2017, Guideline 4.5 of the 2016 VRQA Guidelines (docx - 204.24kb) has come into effect.
Under Guideline 4.5 of the 2016 Guidelines, trainers and assessors delivering:

  • TAE40110/TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • TAE SS00001/TAESS00011 Assessor Skill Set, or
  • any assessor skills set from the Training and Education Training Package
    must hold:
  • a Diploma of Vocation Education and Training (TAE50111/TAE50116), or 
  • a Diploma of Training Design and Development (TAE50211/TAE50216), or
  • a higher level qualification in adult education.

  • If the trainer/assessor does not hold one these qualifications, they must:

  • work under the supervision of someone who holds TAE40110/TAE40116 Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
  • not determine assessment outcomes.

More information can be found in the 2016 VRQA Guidelines (docx - 204.24kb) or on this website.

3 February 2017: Total VET Activity Reporting

All RTOs have an obligation to report to the VET national provider collection (that is, to complete AVETMISS reporting).

Unless an exemption applies, your RTO must report:

  • all VET student enrolment activity conducted in 2016
  • all award issuance activity conducted in 2016.

Your RTO is required to report any VET activity, including:

  • activity that attracts government funding and activity that does not attract government funding
  • activity that is conducted in Victoria and/or Western Australia.

If you have not reported data through the state training authority (Higher Education and Skills Group, Victorian Department of Education and Training), you must report directly to NCVER. NCVER opened its web-based AVETMISS Validation Software system from Tuesday 3 January 2017 and is now accepting direct reports from RTOs. You must submit validated data reports by close of business Tuesday 28 February 2017.

Your RTO is required to meet these data provision requirements as a condition of registration. The VRQA may impose regulatory penalties if your RTO does not meet these data provision requirements.

More information regarding AVETMISS reporting is available from NCVER at AVETMISS Support for RTOs.

Please direct any queries regarding these matters to the VRQA at qar@edumail.vic.gov.au.

3 February 2017: Unique Student Identifier (USI)

RTOs must have a valid and verified USI for all students before issuing a qualification or statement of attainment to students and must include USIs in their AVETMISS data submission for all their students except where exemptions apply.

Students will soon be able to access a transcript of their qualifications reported to NCVER via AVETMISS. Missing information will be able to be added via NCVER’s USI Transcript Update Tool for those students whose qualifications or other training was reported without a USI in 2015. 

Further information is available on the Australian Government Unique Student Identifier website.


 

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For past news articles from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 see: VRQA news archive.

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